Could Google Glass Impact Chicago's Gang Violence?

If you follow Chicago news at all, you know that we are making headlines across the nation for an unfortunate crime wave, resulting in weekly-if not daily-stories about record-breaking shootings. A rather high percentage of these victims appear to have some sort of tie to gang violence in the city, but all agree on one thing; it needs to stop.

One person who appears to want to stop this violence is Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who recently agreed to a conversation about possibly sending Illinois State Police to act as reinforcements to the most troubled areas. Adding armed military personnel has also been positioned as a potential answer. But maybe it's not military action but social strategy that could be used to combat this disease. Commander Kevin Ryan, head of the Chicago Police Department's Gang Enforcement Division, was recently quoted in an ABC News story on Chicago's gang violence and the use of social media. In the article, Ryan said social media "amplifies" conflicts between rival gangs, but is not the root cause of conflicts between them. "I don't think it's going from Facebook to the streets. It's going from the streets to Facebook," he said. "It's not something social media has created, it's an amplification method."
This is a pretty key statement. Without amplification, even the most intense human emotion subsides naturally over time. With Facebook and Twitter to constantly and continually feed the fires, these emotions can get out of control. Fast.

Just take a look at the latest victim that was shot in the face on September 19, 2013. I won't post a photo image of the 3-year old all bandaged up, but you get the picture. I did --- in my Facebook feed. I follow a local news channel and they posted the image. It broke my heart. It made me cry. It's no wonder gang violence is spiraling out of control. I can't even imagine the emotions people nearer this sad situation must feel.

So this is a plea to Google's Larry Page, Sergey Brin and maybe even Isabelle Olsson (lead designer) to not look the other way. If humanity depends on social behavior and I believe it does (and so do the gangs using FB, Twitter, Instagram to track rival gang members as clearly illustrated in a recent article that will leave you sick) and I believe Google would agree, then maybe Google Glass can help the Chicago gang violence crisis.

Arm them with power which knowledge gives.
Maybe arming the police, community activists or others with Google Glass could help curb the behavior long term and more imporantly in the short term, could potentially impact specific high risk areas immediately. James Madison said, "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
Technology has a way of evolving much faster than legislation can dictate. While we wait for military response, more governmental funds and protective programming or other solutions that stop our babies from being shot in the face, technology is being used in the war on crime. Why not figure out a way to make that technology contribute in a more positive manner?

Whether you think Uncle Ben (from Spiderman) or Voltaire said it, who can disagree that, "With great power comes great responsibility."


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